Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

Posts Tagged ‘Heena Tariq News Highlights – 30 May 11

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  • Karl Manning, 5 RALC, R.I.P.:  On his way home as family, colleagues wonder – more here.
  • Afghanistan (1):  An organization that keeps track of threats to aid workers in Afghanistan is bracing for a tough, desperate summer and warns of an “escalating stalemate” as it says the Karzai government is losing its grip on northern parts of the country. A new report from the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office suggested insurgent forces are growing in areas that have previously been assessed as calm. We anticipate 2011 will be the most violent year since we have been keeping records,” said the organization’s quarterly report, which was released over the weekend ….”  Afghanistan NGO Safety Office site here, latest report mentioned in story here (PDF).
  • Afghanistan (2):  The Canadian-funded textbooks and computers aren’t overly expensive — certainly not compared to the price Afghan women risk having to pay for using them.The sort of mundane learning most westerners have long taken for granted carries a persistent and very real threat for female students in southern Afghanistan: injury or death at the hands of the Taliban. For the determined, however, it’s no deterrent. “For sure, I am afraid,” says Heena Tariq, a teenager who’s taking an online accounting course at a school in Kandahar city. “It’s not fair we are afraid and stay home. We have to be brave. We have to study for the future and brighten our lives.” Tariq is one of about 700 women who have defied custom and the threat of insurgent thuggery to attend the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch:  Attacks claimed in Kandahar, Uruzgan.
  • Libya Mission (1):  One opinion.  “…. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said from the start that Canada was at “war” and Defence Minister Peter MacKay allowed that the mission “… isn’t without risk, let’s put it that way.” Canadians from coast to coast to coast, as they say, have a vested interest in the Libyan mission. And Harper recognized that when he committed Friday to consult Parliament on his wish to extend the Canadian military mission in Libya beyond the three-month limit approved by the Commons in mid-March …. But the need to draw all MPs into the debate isn’t founded on differing party philosophies alone, it’s also based on geography. Bombardier Karl Manning of Chicoutimi, Que. was the latest Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan, apparently as a result of suicide. An inordinate number of soldiers from Quebec and Atlantic Canada seem to have died in Afghanistan, likely reflecting the overall makeup of the Canadian military. So, it’s imperative that the voices of the MPs from those regions are heard, no matter what their party affiliations are ….”
  • Libya Mission (2):  Another opinion. “…. When Canada first committed military resources to support the UN-authorized intervention in Libya, all four political parties backed the proposal but agreed to review our participation after three months. While there was virtually no debate about Libya during the recent election, let’s hope that the lack of purpose and progress to date will be enough to convince the Harper government to abort this ill-fated venture before we get dragged into yet another costly unwinnable quagmire like Afghanistan.”
  • Environmental and funding concerns are adding years to the construction of an Arctic naval port considered crucial to enforcing Canadian control of the Northwest Passage. The Nanisivik port in Nunavut was originally supposed to be at least partially up and running by next summer, following a promise made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2007. But no construction is planned for this summer and defence officials admit that the refuelling station, intended to give the navy a permanent presence at the eastern gate of the contested passage, won’t be operating for years. “Construction work at the Nanisivik Naval Facility will begin in 2013,” said a defence department spokesman in an email. “It is forecasted that the (facility) will be operational in 2016.” Officials weren’t immediately available to explain why. But correspondence with the Nunavut Impact Review Board, which is conducting the project’s environmental review, suggests the extra years have been added to the project through a combination of bureaucratic delays, funding problems and environmental liabilities lingering from the site’s previous life as a lead-zinc mine. “There are many challenges operating in the North and DND now has a better understanding of the site condition,” wrote the spokesman ….”  Environmental screening documents on the project are available via the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s web page here.
  • F-35 Tug o’ War:  “Everything is bigger in Texas — the cowboy hats, the belt buckles, the steaks, and the factories. Lockheed Martin’s production line here, where the U.S. defence giant manufacturers the F-35 stealth fighter jet, is actually more than two kilometres long. And putting aside the mounting concerns of the program, the F-35 and the factory here have a very high cool-factor. If it weren’t so restricted, a visit to the facility should definitely be on the to-do list of anyone who’s ever had a fighter jet poster on his wall. But critics aren’t swayed by the cool quotient, and are sounding the alarm bells that the jets’ price will skyrocket ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying?  Round two of “we need Large Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device Disrupter Systems”.  More on round one from March 2011 here and here (bullet #9).